Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Betwixt and Between

I love writing the cards and baking the brownies and decorating the packages and dropping them off in the post office, one by one down the chute, smiling as I send loving thoughts to the recipients.

I love putting out the pillows and the candle holders and the door hangers.  I love watching my house move from TBG's Episcopal sparseness to his mother's Christmas-on-every-surface.

There is nothing I relish more than an afternoon in a comfy chair, with a good book in my lap and liquid refreshment by my side.  It's even better if the sun is out and the temperatures are in the 60's -Tucson's version of winter - and if the book is #10 in a 20 book series, and all the remaining ten texts are on my bookshelf, on loan from the library, just waiting to be read.

And that's where I am right now.  I have something from every column of my Smile Through December spreadsheet, and I don't know what to do.  I punted, earlier in the day, by getting my nails done.  Out with October and November's orange; in with December and January and various shades of red.

That was an easy choice.  Now, I have to decide whether to bake or to decorate or to read.   This is much harder.  It's a good thing that it's time to leave for Mr. 11's 6th grade basketball game.  I can put off my decision until after dinner, because I am the Designated Super Fan for my young friend.  He cannot be disappointed; I'll figure out what to do this evening once I finish cheering.

So much time.  So many choices. Such a lovely problem.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Easing Into It

Big Cuter says I never send him brownies any more.  We'll see if he reads this and reacts with a smile.

I have something to send Megan, frequent comment-leaver and fierce woman incarnate, and it seemed silly not to send her brownies, too.

Not-Kathy and Dr. K know the holidays begin when my brownies arrive; it's early this year, my friends.

And, perhaps, my treats will arrive at R-Square's before their lands on my doorstep.

It's Brownie Season, and I'm happy.

I will not ruin it by thinking about that which I cannot change (ie. President-elect tweets) having done what I can to make my voice heard (emailed my Senators re: Jeff Sessions for anything).

I will smell the baking and write the cards and start the season off with a full heart.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Extra Week

Thanksgiving was early.  Chanukah is late.  This is an extra week.

My holiday season revolves around the baking and distribution of dozens of boxes of brownies. The fact that I didn't bump into December this weekend means that this is an extra week, a week which has no assignments, a week in which can be used to compile and prepare.

It's a luxury I rarely experience.

This year, as always, I lost the Brownie List.  Not the hard copy I always print out, the list of names I can check off as cards are written, labels are printed, and boxes are packed.  No, the list that Little Cuter created for me a decade or so ago, the one with the addresses, the Official Brownie List.

I searched this PC and documents and Gmail messages and came up empty.  There were links to folders which had been deleted.  There was no Brownie List.  My girl attached it to the plaintive email I sent.  I realized that it was a Google Doc..... easily accessible from anywhere... as long as I was signed in.

I may save a Brownie List file with that information to help me next year when I forget and begin looking again.

With the list on the screen and 2015's hard copy on my desk, I began to update my USPS address book.  I created a Brownie List and checked to be sure that all the addresses were up to date.  I went back to the Google Doc and color coded the entries for Christmas and Chanukah and Both.  I sorted the ranges by columns, which made me inordinately happy.

I have a pantry filled with Bakers Unsweetened Chocolate and giant bags of walnut halves.  I have new 8" square pans, purchased this summer, on sale, in a moment of forethought and planning. There are a few last minute items - flour and sugar come immediately to mind - but I'm as well organized as I've ever been.

And, I have an extra week.  I think I'll go online and apply for Medicare.  I have the time.

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Thanksgiving (Re)Collection

I've been re-reading Thanksgiving posts, and smiling a lot. Here is some of the joy.   I'll be back to reality on Monday; I'm taking the weekend off.
Memories Then:
..... of full bellies lying on the couch, begging for relief, as Hough's creamed spinach wound its way through an overloaded digestive tract.....

..... of my first niece, a veg even as a toddler, eating cucumbers for dinner and feeling just fine.....

..... of walks around the neighborhood, wrapped in scarves and hats culled from the front hall closet, surrounded by all ages and temperaments, mellowed by tryptophan

On dinner in Cleveland Heights at Nannie's house:
We'd sit in the dining room, using it, for once, as more than an inconvenient space between the kitchen and the tv room, sideboards groaning, waiting for Nannie's yearly screech. 

Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without my mother-in-law jumping up from the table, just as the first fork was lifted and yelping, "Oh, shit... I burned the rolls!"
Memories More Recent:
Thursday Afternoon: "What time are you getting your mom?"
"Oh, SHIT, I forgot about G'ma!"
I, math challenged, asked G'ma how many ounces were in a cup. TBG wondered why I needed to know.  

"I don't want to measure them out, I want to know how many are in the box." Big Cuter went further. "She wants to do the math.  I know that's weird coming from Mom, but...."

They laugh at my foibles and love me nonetheless.

And my mother, my dear, demented, forgetful mother, knew, without missing a beat, that there were 8 ounces in a cup.  And she was surprised that I didn't remember that fact... and that she did.  

I know she's in there somewhere.
For this year and every year:
There were fewer people at the table, but just as much love.  We are here.  We are fed.  We are happy.

Thanks for being part of the wonder that is my life.  Each and every one of you makes it that much sweeter.  Who needs pie?  I have all of you.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Statement of Fact

For my happy, healthy family, here and there,

For my friends, near and far, old and new, and old-and-found-again,

For the abundance of goodness I see every day,

For the richness of the world I inhabit,

For the fact that I am here at all, 

I am truly thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all !

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What I'm Doing - Part Three

RE: The President Elect

His phone call with Mr. Abe was on an unsecured line.  Surely this is as disturbing as Mrs. Clinton's use of a private server.

His businesses are intertwined with the business of the nation, and his children (who cannot really run a "blind trust" for him, now can they?) are in the room making policy even as they plan to run the businesses after the inauguration.  How is this not a conflict of interest?

His DC hotel touting their space to diplomats - how is this not Pay for Play?

I am quite concerned about the integrity of our government.  I hope that you will pay close attention to these matters, as you have to Mrs. Clinton's emails.

That's what I wrote in the space provided at the Blow the Whistle tab on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's website.  I signed my name, and the site assures me that I'm safe:

 Any personal information you provide us will be kept in strict confidence.

That's what I did on Sunday. After tackling retailers on Saturday, I spent the next afternoon targeting Congress.  I was much less successful.  

Apparently, the only way to contact a member of Congress by email is to be a resident of the district. Enter a non-congruent zip code and you get an error message that makes you feel small for asking the wrong grown-up for help.  At least, before asking for my zip code, Rep. Mike Turner had the decency to apologize:

Regrettably, I am unable to reply to any email from constituents outside of the district. 

There are no email addresses listed on the official web pages of the House of Representatives.  The administrator makes it very clear that the central network will not forward emails.  They suggest searching each Representative's web presence if you want to send an email.

Good luck with that.  I tried.  Google email Rep. Chaffetz (the Committee Chair) and see how far you get.  I'm beginning to see why Hillary used a private email server.

I started to call every member on the Committee.  The mailboxes were full, or phones were unanswered, until I got to Rep. Farenthold who gave me space for a rambling message about conflict of interest and our President-to-be.  

I re-read the post which inspired me, and thought about the second paragraph.  

I decided to wait until Monday and call the local offices of the remaining members.  If they're not in DC I bet they are home, checking in with constituents.  Maybe there will be someone answering the phones there.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What I'm Doing - Part Two

I wrote this missive to my Congresswoman:
Dear Rep. McSally,
Hatred, division, and vengeance have no place in civil discourse.
Can you stand up for women, and our right not to be groped?
Can you stand up for the First Amendment, and the right of cast members to speak truth to power:
You took on the Air Force and won; I admired that.  Are you brave enough to speak out for others, too?
I await your response.  Mr. Trump's behavior is often inappropriate - will you call him on it?

I took my letter (handwritten, on my embossed stationary) to a Pantsuit Nation Tucson Meet Up 
on the street in front of Rep. McSally's office.  
There we stood, men and women of all ages and descriptions,
holding signs and smiling at the cars passing us by.
I joined them after thanking the Tucson Police for their presence in the parking lot nearby; they were looking out for us and that made me feel marginally safer.  Drivers slowed to read the words.  The sky was overcast but kept the raindrops at bay.  It didn't feel as if anything would change, but it felt so good to vent.

When my hip told me it was time to sit down, I made my way up to the 5th floor and the Congresswoman's office.  There, I sat down with  CJ Karamargin, her District Director.  I met him when he was still working with Gabby Giffords; I teased him about moving to the dark side as we walked to a big table in what I think was Rep. McSally's personal office.  He said It's not that dark.  

He called his current boss a moderate Republican, which, in this day and age, is probably true.  He listened, we laughed, and he promised to send me the Facebook post or maybe he said it was a Twitter Tweet which Rep. McSally posted after the Access Hollywood video was made public.  He promised that she was offended and he was sorry that I had missed the news.  We discussed there is too much to read and not enough time but I was able to make the point that I knew where Jeff Flake and John McCain stood but I had no idea what my third voice in Washington said.  

She's all I have.  She needs to make a statement that I can show my granddaughter.  Rep. McSally took on the Air Force and won (reversing their policy that women deployed in the Middle East must cover their heads when leaving the base) and now I need her to stand up for me, and my girls.

Again, he assured me that the post was out there.  I gave him my email address and, sure enough, there she was, calling the candidate's behavior disgusting  and appalling.  

I left the office and drove to Prince Elementary School to warm the cockles of my heart.  All this political action left me feeling empty inside.  I think it is possible to say that the Democratic candidate's policies are flawed, the Republican candidate's policies are more reflective of my own views, and the Republican candidate's behavior is reprehensible and cannot be condoned or supported.

Of course, that's just me.  Rep. McSally never endorsed or denounced Mr. Trump.  She decided that it was okay to be silent on the subject.  She didn't think I needed to know, but I did.  She's good for Southern Arizona, but I couldn't cast a vote for her without knowing.

It's not my fault if I can't figure out where my elected representative stands; it's on her shoulders to inform me.  I pay attention to what is presented.  She's sent mailers reminding me to vote.  She's posted and mailed pictures of herself meeting with constituents and holding hearings on Women in the Workplace.  She's wondered about border security.  All these things are well and good, but they don't address the immediate concerns facing our nation right now. 

Call it alt-right or white supremacist or nationalist or kakistocracy, there is business taking place in the corridors of government which demands, at the very least, a comment from a moderate Republican woman who speaks for me in Congress.

She's been re-elected.  Perhaps now she will speak so that I can hear her?  There's not much standing between me and the people in power.  I am afraid and I need reassurance.  If a moderate Republican can look at Steve Bannon and Lt Gen Mike Flynn and still stay silent, then I'm even more terrified.  

My plan was to call the local offices of the members of the House Oversight Committee to ask them to investigate the many conflicts of interest (meeting with business partners from Mumbai as the latest example) our President-elect is creating.  I'm exhausted and wrung out.  I'll make those calls tomorrow.

Monday, November 21, 2016

What I'm Doing

I spent Saturday sending emails to strangers.  Every time I hit SEND I smiled.  Big Cuter, comfortably ensconced on Douglas-the-Couch, wondered what was making me so happy.

I'm hitting him where it hurts the most, and it feels great.

What was it?

#GrabYourWallet was created last month in response to Trump's bragging about sexual assault. They created a spreadsheet of companies carrying Trump branded products and encouraged consumers to contact the retailers with this message:

I'm a customer/fan of your brand. Unfortunately, I'll no longer be able to shop there because you do business with the Trump family.  If you were no longer to do so I would consider returning as a customer. Since Ivanka has campaigned so passionately for her father, I feel that her brand, too, has become politicized.

This was something I could do, right then.  I wouldn't have to wait on hold, or be told that voice mailboxes were full (see tomorrow's post).  I could type and cut and paste and make a statement.  The boys were watching football; I had company as I made my voice heard.

I told Bed Bath and Beyond that I would miss them and their coupons and their friendly employees.  I told Zappos that I'd look elsewhere for Little Cuter's winter boots.  I complimented Nordstroms for delaying Christmas decorations  until after Thanksgiving but said that carrying Ivanka's jewelry was a deal-breaker for me.  I told Neiman-Marcus that their catalog went unopened into the recycling because I could not, in good conscience, shop with them this year.

Zappos! got back to me right away:

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to provide us with feedback! I respect your position on the Ivanka Trump brand, and I will certainly pass this feedback on to the appropriate teams for review. We take all feedback with open arms to help us improve our customer experience and learn and grow as a company.

HSN, which I glimpse only as I flip through, looking for Property Brothers, is sorry to lose me as a customer:

HSN is proud to be accepting of people with differing views and opinions. This is true of our customer base, and certainly the brands and personalities we bring to our wonderful customers.

I assure you that I have made the proper department aware of your concern and suggestion. Our marketing and management team always take our customers concerns very serious, and it will be reviewed.

We will definitely hate to see you go. You have been such a wonderful customer for so long.* I would greatly appreciate if you gave us another opportunity to provide you with quality merchandise that will exceed your expectations.

*Given that I've never been an HSN customer, I am skeptical of the veracity of the rest of their statement.  Still, my voice was counted. made me sad even as it engaged me.  I've written about them .  They are bright, kind, energetic young people but their ability to disconnect capitalism from politics was somewhat disheartening:

Thank you for reaching out to the Jet Heads in regards to your feedback.

We recognize that people really want their voices to be heard right now, and we appreciate you sharing your views with us. We don’t feel that offering a company’s product means taking a political position**, but of course we’ll respect the choice you make as to whether or not to continue shopping with us. We appreciate your business as well as your feedback!

**Of course it does,  You provide a platform for others to use.  You are the gatekeeper of that platform.  If something offends you, you have the right to refuse them.  If something offends you and you do nothing, you are acquiescent.... as am I if I continue to do business with you.   

There were 50 some companies on the boycott list.  There were also companies which could be complimented, companies like Home Depot which has Discontinued below every single Trump branded lamp on their website.  Their CEO may have supported Trump, but the company isn't doing business with him any more.

I only heard about it this weekend.

Even if DJT hadn't won the Presidency, I'd have abandoned those retailers for allowing a reprehensible human to enrich himself while using their platform.

I stopped buying Calvin Klein products when he popularized the heroin chic look.  I told Hanes that gentlemen might prefer them but I found their advertising offensive.

Once again, I can let my money speak for me.

Of course, Big Cuter wanted a new shower curtain ... and Bed Bath and Beyond is on the list.

Sigh.  I hate it when my principles crash up against my life.

And that must have been what the list's creators were thinking when they included on the spreadsheet.  Working parents have supplies delivered, grandparents have gifts delivered, everyone has something delivered so I was pretty sad about saying goodbye to Amazon until I searched and found Jeff Bezos's desire to send Trump into space.  He said that the President-elect's plans will erode democracy around the edges.  I was feeling encouraged.  I searched the site and found 7,252 results for prayer rugs.  I decided to write and express my feelings, but I can't separate myself from the Borg; I'm an Amazon Smile customer for life.

I'm doing what I can.  That's all that can be asked.

Friday, November 18, 2016


Little Cuter has bronchitis.

FlapJilly screamed for an hour after pre-school yesterday.  DOUGHNUTS!!! DOUGHNUTS!!! DOUGHNUTS!!!

TBG has had a chest cold for nearly two weeks, a cold I'd been fighting with Zicam spray until I decided that I was healthy and stopped medicating.  Now that cold is back, with a vengeance, and my throat is scratchy and my head hurts and my tummy isn't happy at all.

But what's making me sick is Kris Kobach insisting that registering enemy aliens, or potential enemy aliens, or just Muslims in general is based on long-standing legal precedent.  Korematsu v United States was the 6-3 Supreme Court decision allowing for the registration and, ultimately, the internment of Americans of Japanese origin during FDR's administration.

Antonin Scalia had this to say on Korematsu, back in 2014:

“Well, of course, Korematsu was wrong,” Scalia said. “And I think we have repudiated it in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again.”

He predicted it.  Trump's transition team is talking about it.  And I am sick about it.

But, for this one, I have a plan.  

I'll register along with them, just as the Dutch did with the Jews in the 1940's.  I've always cherished the notion that common folk took a small but significant step to express their displeasure with an unwelcome regime.  They were thinking that all Dutch lives mattered, even ones who didn't worship Jesus Christ.  They were willing to stand in harms way to make their dissatisfaction known.  

It's scary to think about, but all disease has an element of terror attached to it.  The fragmentation of our society is sickening.  I'm pledging to take steps to combat the infestation.

I can't believe I'm writing this post.  What has happened to my America?  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Reading Corner

"I learned something right now.  I don't usually learn something but I learned something right now."

Thus spake a 2nd grader, a young man who was working on distinguishing between the long and short vowel sounds.  We read the often used words as I tried to find examples of that-which-passes-for-rules in spelling the English language.  Two consonants after a vowel make a short sound (except when they don't) was simple enough, and so was an e at the end of the word makes a long sound.

It got tricky when we got to cage and case and mice and nice.  That c is quite a problem (as was quite, but we'll get to that later.)  If it's cage and case why isn't it mike and nike?  The e at the end of the word was the clue, and his face when he realized that the e at the end makes the c an s lit up the classroom.

That's when he decided he'd learned something.  He went on to zip through the ce words, and enjoyed the story to which they were attached.  He showed great understanding when he substituted his for the.... he was hurrying because he wanted to find out what happened, and calling it his bag instead of the bag just showed comprehension.

Of course, I made him go back and correct the error, but he did so knowing that his mistake was a smart one.

It took 30 minutes.  It nourished me for hours.  I've committed to returning every Wednesday throughout the school year.  I'm going to rely on those little faces to bring me back to all that is right and good with the world.

It's not much, but it's a start, as I try to find my way through to whatever lurks on the other side.  It's hard to be terrified when you're totally happy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Gabby's Story

She continues to inspire me, each and every day. She's so much better now, stronger and tougher in her own words, which you can see in this video clip.  I tried to embed it, but the platform won't allow it.

She's comfortable in her own skin, and that's the part that moves me the most.  She's not tentative.  She's smiling and she's joking - with her husband and with her dog.  Her words are more fluent and her expressions more reflective of her inner self.

Aphasia, as Gabby says in this story, sucks.  The words are there; she just can't find them.  I cannot imagine the hours she's spent on her search.  My struggles to acquire a fluid gait pale in comparison to my Congresswoman's struggle to speak.

And yet, she smiles.  She leans into Mark and he squeezes her shoulder and they agree that looking backward is useless.  There is only tomorrow.  I've heard Gabby say it.  I've heard her mother say it.  In the clip, I heard Mark say it.

We haven't forgotten what happened, but we're not stuck there.  We are moving forward, dragging our reluctant and recalcitrant and frustrating bodies along for the ride.  We are more than our disabilities.  We are strong.  We are courageous.  We are bold

Gabrielle Giffords Continues to Inspire.  It's a bumper sticker and it's a promise to myself.

If she can be all those things, then so can I.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Spam in The Burrow

This was the only comment on yesterday's post:

با سالها سابقه در طراحي ،اجرا و خدمات سيستمهاي درب اتوماتيک و راهبند 
فروش،نصب و راه اندازي و خدمات انواع درب اتوماتيک (درب سکشنال - کرکره اتوماتيک - کرکره پنجره - درب ريلي اتوماتيک - جک پارکينگي - کرکره شفاف - رول گيتر - انواع راهبند و درب اتوماتيک شيشه اي... ) 
خدمات 24 ساعته و شبانه روزي حتي در تعطيلات رسمي 
مشاوره رايگان در تمامي مراحل

I read it on my phone, while waiting for class to start in the morning.  My Android doesn't have an easily accessible translation service, so I spent the day wondering.  What had the beautiful Persian writer been trying to communicate?  Was she as thrilled with my hike as I had been?  Was she taken with my photos?  Was she offering her perspective on the world?  And how had she found The Burrow?

Inquiring bloggers wanted to know, but life kept me away from home all day long.  With dinner re-heating in the oven, I sat at the desk and re-read the post.  No, there was nothing pertinent to a Persian writer, at least as far as I could see.  With mouse in hand, I copied and pasted the passage into Google Translate, and was rewarded with this:

*** The new company Gate ***

With years of experience in the design, implementation and service of automatic door systems and Barrier Sales, installation and service of automatic doors (sectional doors - Automatic shutters - Shutters - Doors rail automatic - Jack parking - transparent shutters - Roll POTGIETER - all kinds of barriers and doors made of glass ...)
Services 24 hours a day, even on holidays
Free advice at all stages

I can't imagine buying security doors from Iran, and yet that is what this new company GATE is hawking.  Still, there was much that was confusing.

According to a cursory Google search, Roll Potgieter score (t)he highest network security index for hard drawn wire structure made of iron and plated doors High elongation and impact resistance.....  and then the snippet ended and the link took me to another page of Farsi, with pictures of the rolling window and door covers.  

Jack parking was another conundrum, but Google was no help there, either.  There are Jack Parking Lots and people murdered in Jack in the Box parking lots but Jack Parking remains a mystery.

I'm wondering if they'd come on Thanksgiving if my garage door got stuck; they say they offer Services 24 hours a day, even on holidays.  I'm wondering what spam-bot found The Burrow and decided that security doors in Farsi was an appropriate comment.  I wonder if The New Company Gate paid someone to post that ad... and if they can get their money back.

However, should you be reading this in Iran right now, why not give GATE a call?  Tell them Ashleigh from The Burrow sent you.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Finding the Moments

I wrote the first draft of this last year, just after Parisians were blown to bits in a nightclub.

I took the same hike again this morning.  It was the first moment of peace I've had all week.

The world is going to hell in a hand basket, and I'm feeling quite powerless, I wrote a year ago this week.  I was feeling the same emptiness this week, unable to put my angst into meaningful action right now.  I was on a merry-go-round, repeating my fears over and over and over in my head.

It was not a good place to be.  My body told me so - I was lurching instead of walking, hunched over and back in my self-protective crouch.  I needed a fix, and Bag It! provided all the fixin's.  I could do a good deed, give back in a tangible way, and soothe my soul at the same time.

And so, with Mary, my Yogi, leading the way,  I joined a Meditative Hike this morning.

I strode up these steps with attitude.

I did not use the handrail.

I put each foot down, carefully, slowly, heel - ball- toe, meditatively moving my self onward and upward.

This year the sun was shining.

This year, I didn't need hiking poles.

This year, I could concentrate on making each step the best that it could be.  There was a lesson there, and I paid attention.

The stones were broad and well secured.

Some tiers took two steps; some were manageable with one long stride.

I was conscious of my entire self moving along, 
rather than concentrating on the individual pieces. 

Those pieces were moving in synchrony, without my help.

(This last section was last year's epiphany - my body will move as one, if I allow it to relax and do the work.  This year, I'm stronger and faster and more secure, and less surprised at the congruence.)

The waterfall was our reward.
 We sat on the stone benches and listened to one another, and to the water, and to the little girl's squeals of glee as she ran up to and then away from the pond at the bottom. It was a moment in time, with the sun shining on our faces and brightening our souls.  

Bag It! is all about living the life.  The choices may not be exactly what you want, or what you imagined.  They may be terrifying.  But with information and organization and support you can live the life you've got, one amazing moment at a time.

Until the world manages to right itself once more, there are always hugs.... from friends and from the trees around us.
It wasn't much.
But it was something.
Our little corner of the world held peace and promise this morning.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thank You, Veterans

Say THANK YOU to someone who served... or who is wearing the uniform right now.  It's the least you can do.

And, perhaps, observe a moment of silence at 11am

when the shooting stopped forever.........

the first time.

America is still America - in no small part thanks to them.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Day After

A friend threw up.

I spent the day wondering ... about freedom of choice, about the status of friends, about bullying, and about Pantsuit Nation

Young people were taking ownership of not doing enough, and then promising to share the love as they carried on.

Mostly, I felt lost.

And then the oddest thing happened; I held Robert Redford and Donald Trump in my brain at the same time.  The Donald didn't look any more comfortable than Redford's candidate after his unlikely win.

(start at 2:04)

Checks and Balances.  The rule of law.  A free press.  An independent judiciary.  I pin my hopes on America.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Can This Really Be Happening?

I'm typing this on Monday night.  No matter what happens tomorrow, this post starts the same way:
Can this really be happening?

It's what Little Cuter and I kept repeating last Wednesday in the bottom of the 9th.
I'm typing this on Tuesday at midnight.

Can this really be happening?

John Podesta sent the campaign workers home.  Big Cuter and TBG and I have been on the phone for hours.  JannyLou and I have been trying not to puke. I've stayed away from Facebook; there's only so much angst I can handle.

Can this really be happening?

Is this my country?  Am I that out of touch?  Is most of America opposed to everything I hold dear?

Can this really be happening?

It was much more fun to say that when the Cubbies were winning.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Have you voted?

Did you feel good about it?

TBG and I cast early ballots before we left on our vacation. That was the last time I felt sanguine about anything.

The FBI is leaking information to Rudy Giuliani.  The Director of the FBI is so afraid of Congress that he risked violating the Hatch Act, thus adding fuel to the email fire.  Donald Trump supporters freaked out over a gun that wasn't there, not recognizing the absurdity of promoting open carry laws and then panicking when they see weaponry. Republican leaders are voting for a man whose name they refuse to say in public.

It's crazy time in America, denizens.

There's no way I can be confident of the outcome.  The 538 podcast, the Keeping It 1600 podcast, Rachel Maddow,  Big Cuter..... they all told me not to worry.... until they started telling me to be afraid, to be very afraid.

I fear for our country.  I fear for my granddaughter and all the other little girls who may grow up without Roe v Wade.  I fear for a Supreme Court either held hostage by an obstructionist Senate majority or filled with incompetents.  I look in horror at a future where a Republican House majority threatens to impeach a newly elected President the moment she takes the oath of office.

I want to be filled with joy.  I want to be excited about the future.  I want to have faith in the goodness of my fellow citizens.  I want to believe that misogyny and mendacity and other character flaws are not rewarded. I'm having a hard time getting there.

And so, I find myself singing the song I sang to The Cuters when they were small:

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But, if you try, sometimes, you get what you need.

I just can't believe that I need President Trump.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Hannah Lindhal Museum

Little Cuter left us a list of things to do.
This tiny museum was nearby, and FlapJilly agreed that it would be lots of fun to visit.
It consists of relics of Michiana's past, donated by residents and collectors.
 (Michiana is the area on the border of Michigan and Indiana, not, as I always thought, a separate town.)

Miss Lexie gave us a introduction to the collection, reminding us that we could touch anything we wanted as long as we put it back where we found it.  We held a mastodon bone and a rabbit skin and petrified wood, but the little miss refused to smile or pose with them.

This chair was Goldilocks sized, and she was quite comfortable.
Unfortunately, the sign she is holding said "Please do not sit on the chairs."
There was a 19th century school room and a Japanese Tea House in honor of Mishawka's sister city and there was this beautiful organ, with embroidered foot pedals.
Antique sewing machines and cooking utensils and a general store with old cans and boxes weren't that interesting to FlapJilly, but we all liked these moccasins which, if you read the attribution card, are quite timely.
That's all.
We were finished in 45 minutes, which gave us plenty of time to have a Second Breakfast at Bob Evans, another worthy Indiana institution.

Thus ends our visit.
Tomorrow I'll reenter the fray, putting all my anxiety for the future of our country on display.
But, for right now, I'm gong back to snuggling with the cutest little girl I know.

photo courtesy of JPetersenPhotography

Friday, November 4, 2016

70 and Sunny

If this is Fall in Indiana, I'm never leaving.

FlapJilly and I took a walk through the piled up leaves on her New House Street.  The smell turned me back into a little kid, flinging myself into the gigantic pile Daddooooo created under the pin oak tree.  He collected them in the basket of the sweeper, dumping load after load in an ever growing pile, crowds of neighborhood kids waiting patiently until he swept them all up.

SIR is going to have to do some serious raking, if the leaves on these trees in his backyard ever decide to leave their branches.

This must be a very warm corner; all the other trees in the area are deep red and yellow.  Only FlapJilly's trees are still mostly green.

We didn't need jackets as we wandered through the  Potowatomie Zoo this morning.  I didn't worry about FlapJilly freezing in her I-dripped-lemonade-all-down-myself outfit.  She was dry by the time we got to the playground,
after we fed the goats.

I warned you that there wouldn't be much verbiage this week.  I'll be back to business next week, dealing with elections and American Democracy.  For now, I'm living the good life.  Reality does not need to intervene.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Linton Enchanted Gardens

This is most wonderful garden center I've ever visited
There was a choo-choo train, with a very punny narration of the grounds.  
There was panning for gold.
There were funny little houses.
There were ostriches 
(who knew their eyes were blue?)
and there were fish.

There were goats

and pheasants
and there were lots of ugly pumpkins.
which reminded me of pumpkin patch visits in Petaluma.
There were topiaries
some of which reminded us of home.
and alien spaceships and skeletons.
There were lots and lots of plants, too, but we were having too much fun to shop.

Little Cuter and I will, no doubt go back to shop.
But, for today, this was quite enough.